SANTA FE, N.M.
- President Bush on Saturday welcomed the House vote to cut
taxes by $550 billion over the next decade, prodded the Senate to
finish work on its version this week and held out hope for a quick
''Since I sent my plan to Congress in January, the need for action
on the economy has become even more urgent,'' the president said in
his weekly radio address, citing the unemployment rate jump to 6
percent in April.
AT FRIEND'S HOME
While the House version is $176 billion smaller than the White
House's original plan, the bill contains ''all the elements'' of that
plan, Bush said. He said Friday's nearly party-line 222-203 House vote
was a positive step.
''I urge the Senate to complete its work next week so the House and
Senate can work out their different versions and get a tax relief bill
to my desk as soon as possible,'' Bush said.
Bush was relaxing here at the home of a family friend for the
weekend before a series of campaign-style appearances on behalf of the
tax-cut plan in New Mexico, Nebraska and Indiana.
The Bush administration contends the House plan would create one
million new jobs by the end of the year, a figure Democrats and many
In the Democrats' radio response, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey
said such a tax cut would further cripple already burdened state
''Every dollar we are in the red is a dollar that we can't invest
in our economy, schools that won't be built, bridges that will not be
repaired and jobs that won't be created,'' he said. ``Today, 46 states
face crippling budget deficits totaling $70 billion.
''State budget deficits will force tax increases and service cuts
that will only hurt the economy, yet the stimulus package offered by
the president fails to provide a single dollar in aid to the states,''
The House plan would trim taxes on wages, capital gains and some
business investments. It would speed up an increase in the child
credit to $1,000 from $600, and provide some relief for married
taxpayers. But it would give Bush a smaller reduction than he wanted
on taxes on stock dividends. Bush had sought total elimination of such
A bill approved last week by the Senate Finance Committee -- and to
be taken up by the full Senate on Monday -- is even more modest. It
holds overall relief to no more than $350 billion and offers far
smaller breaks for investors.
Still, Bush took heart in the fact that major tax-cut legislation
modeled on his proposals was advancing.
''This week's progress demonstrates that both houses of Congress
and both political parties agree that tax relief will help this
economy,'' Bush said on the radio. ``Now the discussion is about how
much tax relief the American people need and deserve.''
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
''We need at least $550 billion in tax relief over the next decade,
big enough to make a real difference in the paychecks of American
workers, big enough to help entrepreneurs create more jobs, and big
enough to give our economy the boost it needs,'' he said.
The president and First Lady Laura Bush were spending the weekend
at a vacation home of Roland W. Betts, a Yale fraternity brother of
the president and former business partner in the Texas Rangers
Bush was staying in New Mexico until Monday morning.